LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual &Transgender) Members
Throughout the year Salford LGBT members have continued to play an active role at branch, regional and national levels, both in LGBT Self Organisation and UNISON’s mainstream structures.
Sexual Orientation Monitoring was introduced last year by UNISON with a call for members to update their information via Myunison. Whilst this is an important development, this information remains confidential and cannot be accessed by LGBT Officers at branch level which can make it difficult to communicate directly with our own members. If you identify as LGB or T and are interested in getting more involved in the union and our activities contact the branch administrator or myself directly.
Recruitment and organising remains a key priority and Salford members have been involved in a range of initiatives aimed at targeting the recruitment and empowerment of LGBT members.
We regularly attend Regional LGBT Committee meetings and training events, and attended North West Skills For Strength, North West TUC Equality Conference and we staff recruitment stalls at the many Pride events throughout the North West.
Some of the year’s highlights were:
Salford LGBT members of Labour Link contributed to Labour Party campaigning throughout the General Election, turning out to events throughout the North West region to campaign. We also welcomed the fact that, despite the disappointing overall result, the Labour Party gained new parliamentary seats and that it now has 19 sitting MP’s who identify as lesbian or gay.
Salford Peel Park Pink Picnic
Salford’s annual LGBT community event which took place in July was a great opportunity to recruit members locally and to educate people on the value of trade union membership and the equality work we undertake.
This year we were joined by Rebecca Long-Bailey MP and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham in addition to our local politicians.
The weather held out and we managed to sign up some new members including staff from partner organisations on adjacent stalls!
Manchester Pride in August remains one of the key regional LGBT events where we can ensure maximum visibility for UNISON and the trade union movement.
The trade union section of the Pride Parade is the most extensive and with this year’s theme being ‘Back to School’ there was a massive presence from the NUT and the NASUWT (with their fantastic brass band) and the other teaching unions, in addition to the Labour Party and a range of other sister unions.
Salford’s banner was carried by our Branch Organiser Matt Dickinson and Communications Officer Magda Sachs while I drew the short straw with the North West Regional banner!
Salford UNISON is also a member of Salford’s Multi-Agency LGBT Forum (MAF) which is comprised of all the organisations in Salford across the statutory and voluntary sectors who engage in equalities work with their LGBT staff and service users.
This year Salford LGBT MAF fielded a float in the parade and were joined by the Mayor of Salford, Councillors Critchley and the late Paul Longshaw and representatives from some of the many organisations in Salford.
National LGBT Conference
This year’s conference took place in Brighton in November and the North West maintained a high profile. I drafted the North West regional motions on Persecution of Gay men in Chechnya, Labour Link, the issues affecting LGBT asylum seekers and encouraging branches to support and affiliate to Stand Up to Racism.
Conference’s special invited guest was Salford-based Nigerian asylum-seeker Aderonke Apata (who finally received her leave to remain this year and talked movingly about her struggle to get her case heard, the situation which led her to lead the hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre and the work she currently undertakes with African Rainbow Family. Her courage, determination and commitment have led her to becoming one of the country’s leading voices in the fight to end the government’s inhumane detention regime and appropriate treatment for all asylum seekers.
Salford City Unison, demonstrating its commitment to the international perspective of trade union and LGBT equality work affiliated to ILGA in August.
The European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) are an international non-governmental umbrella organisation bringing together 490 organisations from 45 European countries. With UNISON involvement since it’s inception it has been a driving force for political, legal and social change at European level. The organization advocates for human rights and equality for LGBTI people at European level, before organisations such as the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in relation to asylum, hate crime and hate speech, education, employment, family, freedom of assembly, association and expression, health , legal gender recognition and bodily integrity.